Did you know that nearly 70% of students raised in the Church leave for at least a year of their college years?

Do you own your faith?
Why are you a part of the church you attend?
Why do you choose to follow Jesus?
Is it something that you choose? Does someone choose that for you so you tag along? 
I have the opportunity to work with college students at Pittsburg State University, and college is a fantastic time to watch students take ownership of their faith. These students experience freedom and independence in ways that they never have before. Students who are raised in the church face a new choice altogether: do they continue developing their faith? 
Did you know that nearly 70% of students raised in the Church leave for at least a year of their college years?
While that is a staggering statistic, there is hope. About 35% of these students will return to the faith at some point. While we certainly would like for all of those students to return, or to not have left in the first place, we recognize that something is going on in these transformative years. That something is students taking ownership of their faith or leaving it behind. Their parents aren’t going to take them to church anymore. They don’t spend the summer with their friends on youth group trips. They begin to experience some of the difficulties of independence, and they have to take ownership of their faith. 
Paul’s Second letter to Timothy addresses ownership of faith:
“I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:3-7)
Timothy was raised in the church, and Paul is impressed by his legacy of faith. However, Paul doesn’t end by talking about Timothy’s family. He ends by telling Timothy to fan the flame of the gift of God. It is now Timothy’s responsibility to cultivate his own faith. 
While this is certainly a struggle for young adults, it doesn’t end there. It is a daily choice to cultivate your own faith, to own your faith. My prayer is that you will make this choice daily. I hope you are encouraged to fan the flame in your own life. I pray that your devotion to him will continue to grow throughout the rest of your life so that you can leave your children’s children with a legacy of faith like Timothy.

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